How do balanced chemical equations relate to the law of conservation of mass?

1 Answer
Jan 1, 2016

Chemical reactions involve the rearrangement of atoms, entities of definite mass. Chemical equations represent these reactions.


So if I start with 10 g of reactant (from all sources) AT MOST I can get 10 g of product. In practice, I can seldom get even that.

In the same way, if I burn 12 g of carbon in the presence of 32 g of oxygen AT MOST I can get 44 g carbon dioxide.

We can represent this by a simple chemical equation, in which equivalent masses are implicit:

#C(s) + O_2(g) rarr CO_2(g)#

Each atom and each molecule have definite masses. So mass is conserved in EVERY chemical reaction. Is it conserved in every NUCLEAR reaction?